Frida returns to the flock
November 9, 2009 § 1 Comment
It’s taken a while, but (touch wood) Frida is now safely reintegrated back into the flock. We took our time to do it – lots of supervised interaction with a selected few other hens out of the lawn. Frida suddenly decided that she didn’t want to fight Neroli, and so that was sorted. (Frida now below Neroli in the pecking order, but above Lily. Swings and roundabouts, I guess.) Poppy and Ella were the main problem – still being extremely aggressive towards her, and meeting with enthusiastic reciprocal aggression from Frida. Sigh!
When Poppy and Ella both went broody within a day or so of each other, we decided to simplify our lives and put the broody girls in the nestless end run, and let Bessie and Frida go back to the main flock. And it worked! Frida marched straight into the WG house, and laid an egg in the nestbox as though she’d never been anywhere else. Had no trouble hopping up to the perch at night – we’d put plenty of bedding down on the floor so she could sleep down there if she wanted, but she didn’t. And was first out the door the next morning. There’s the odd peck from Neroli, but Frida just grumbles and gets on with things.
We had a suspicion that some of Ella and Poppy’s aggro might be due to their über-broody state. So they were each given small amounts of supervised lawn time with Frida (thus providing space to escape each other whilst building an association between being nice to each other and having good things – garden time – happen to them). And, sure enough, the day before Poppy laid her first egg back, she decided that she didn’t want to fight, and conceded superiority to Frida without so much as a hackle. (Hooray!) And today Ella spent a couple of hours outside with all the girls together, and was no more aggressive to Frida than she was to anyone else. (Huzzah!!) For the curious – yes, Ella laid her first egg back yesterday.
We’ll keep a close eye on things, and probably have Ella and Venus sleep away from the main flock for a few days yet – the biggest pressure, pecking-order-wise, is at bedtimes and first thing in the morning, when they’re in close confinement. But (fingers crossed) it’s looking good. Frida hops and skips at least as fast as the others run, and seems to be happy and pain-free.
I think we can call this one a victory.